Saturday, March 8, 2008

P2P on mac (Application Review)


when trying to share/download files on mac you find out that most of the apps you know in windows are not all available in the same form or from the same site, you need to know what apps you can need and want to use, here is a fast and short review:

the apps i am going to cover are only the apps i tried myself.

The P2P application list:

  1. aMule
  2. SoulSeeX
  3. Transmission
  4. LimeWire
  5. Azureus
  6. Acquisition
  7. Poisoned
  8. Tomato
  9. Pando

as far as i can tell it is not the emule we all know and love from windows,
all i can say on this app is that its icon looks good on the Dock!

when it opens up you see less then minimal user interface (not Mac Like),

you can't know your status (connected/Disconnected/Connecting) from the GUI, you cant rely on the Stop button on the upper left corner you have to use the log,

then you realize that the window version (for some reason) connect faster, even when i import the .met file manually from known servers.

after you are connected if you disconnect and reconnect you would expect the app to remove unreachable servers, it does not!

when trying to search it takes a long time to get results, there is a progress indication, and the results are poor mostly 20-25 results unless you choose very hot download (while windows counterpart is finding a long list and faster), most of its results are lame spam.

downloading is far from fast, uninterruptible or satisfying, most of the time you will encounter the error dialog.

i would leave aMule alone and (as the good ppl on G4 Xplay say) i give it a 2 out of 5. 

SoulSeex A.K.A SSX [Download Link]

SoulSeex is a very well crafted application, with user friendly interface, this app accomplish what it was set to be, a very simple-to-use music P2P.

ssx allows you to share, search, and browse (never seen this option before) songs,
you can start by searching for a song and it will connect to a server and look for people with songs that contains the search word as you described it in the search window, then it will open a tab with the found results, allowing you to order by: user name, Line Speed, downloader in queue, song time length, sample bitrate...

you may open the user folder and see what else is in that folder, parent folder and so on, more then that you can browse the folders/Drives shared by the user and of curse download from them even complete folders.

ssx is a good way to find fast and download fast music, build albums and see what other people are listening to, this app support Unicode for your locale songs, you can see who is downloading from you and what, what files he is sharing, you may cancel, or open a chat or view his profile etc.

if i had to score it i would give ssx a 5 out of 5.

Transmission [Download Link]

this is probably my most used P2P application, it support the Bittorrent network, and allows sharing, downloading of torrents, very specific to these features, it displays a graphic representation of the download and upload status,

the application icon is displaying the download and upload speed,

it supply a sound notification when download is done, it allows you controlling the upload ratio you are interested in, you may control and limit bandwidth use of downloads and uploads, etc.

Transmission gets a 5 out of 5.

LimeWire [Download Link]

LimeWire support the  Gnutella P2P network,
it is has a very clear and idiot proof UI, fast connect, search, find results and downloads, you may (like in emule kazza and the rest) search for a file depending on several criteria:
Audio, Video, Images, title, year, genre, etc.

you have a tabbed search results with number of results, in the results you can see quality rating, name, file type, file size, download speed, bitrate, and other applicable data.

you can move from search, to monitor, to connections, and shared library using the available tabs, and there are more hidden tabs that you can activate from View menu, there is a cool small yet sufficient statistics utility, supports multiple languages and skins, it is aware to itunes, and got tons of configuration dialogs eclipse-like (hierarchy and filter).

the only thing (small thing) that annoyed me is that when you try to resize the column in whatever table there is you do it on the account of other columns, it makes it impossible to see large file names (you need to wait for the tooltip to appear), another thing is when you want to see the downloaded file in Finder you cant you need to right click the Shared folder and press Explore (why not "Show in Finder" you are on mac!) and then find the file yourself.

thats about it for LimeWire, its sexy, fast, efficient, i give it a 4 out of 5.

Azureus [Download Link]
this is a well known java application from the window environment, it support the Bittorent network, it works exactly like in the windows environment, it is one of the more popular bittorent clients out there.

Azureus has everything nailed to the spot, it support all known torrent needs including uploads downloads, preview, priority, order, search, creating torrents, converting from URL to torrents, adding other trackers as sources, http url as sources, adding file hash, by that adding support to eMule and eDonky, and gnutella networks,

it has lot of configuration dialogs, Growl-like popups, a sexy icon, and then there is  "Vuze"!

Vuze is the first thing you see when you open Azureus, it is a site embedded into the application, joost like if you know it (see my post about mac joost), it is a set of channels ordered by kind of video, audio, games, action, animation, art, etc. you can download and watch, listen, play etc. every content type is torrent in its base and you may play it directly from azureus or from your favorite player.

since azureus is a bittorrent client and more, it does it well, fast, with clear defined UI, i give it a 5 out of 5.

Acquisition [Download Link]
this is a strange application that suppose to be P2P but it requires a license,
not only that, the author decided to reinvent the rules of application evaluation process,
instead of supplying you with a trial period, shareware nag notification, or limited capabilities he has decided to do the folowing:
from the moment the application is activated it is counting backwards an hour, when that clock reaches 0 it will limit the download speed randomly, also when searches are made they are randomly ignored (pff... what a hoot), beside that if you buy it (or hack it) you get a good client with decent UI, good performance, fast reactions.

it has built in search engine (i think based on spotlight) for result search, redirect the query to one of: itunes store, google, amazon, flicker, wikipedia, has rating, filtering, categories, find similar, etc.

yet on the down side: it has minimal to almost no use of "right click", couldn't figure out where is the server that the app is connecting to, or how to add one, the help is almost absent and online, no upload section or connection tracking, no statistics, or user awareness (chat/name/client type/ip), can't create black list, or friends list, limited bandwidth control, no DHT support,  add to that the license requirement and strange evaluation engine.

all in all its not mainstream application and a lot less popular then transmission or azureus
that is why i give Acquisition a 3 out of 5.

Poisoned [Download Link]
not sure why they name it like that, or why the icon is a poisoned globe, but it is far from it,
this application is a simple P2P client that certainly delivers, it has like all others: multiple search, upload screen, download screen, bandwidth control, filter abilities to narrow results, browse user folders, criteria division, and the most importent: support multiple P2P networks including: Ares, FastTrack(Kazza), Gnutella, OpenFT.
you can add network support via plugin, but none are available, you can limit search to certain networks, the main page display connection status and statistics regarding how many users are connected and how many files are shared (also size of the shared files), support skins, integrates with itunes.

the cons for poisoned are: no user awareness (you cannot band or block a user but you can see its ip and client network), no statistics, no help, can't control the connect reconnect status per networks that failed connecting, and the search is based only on type and keyword it is too little.

i loved Poisoned but use it only for mp3,
i give it a 4 out of 5.

Tomato [Download Link]
last and certainly least is tomato, a bittorrent client, very slim capabilities,
it is used only to open and download or create torrents, no real GUI is supplied other then a wizard they call "Tomato Starting Point" well actually it is also the application ending point,
since there is no more screens other then the wizard, it shows several options (what would you like to do with torrents) open one, create one..., then you follow 2-3 steps
that relevant for the chosen option then a window that shows minimal log and actually no options (even not cancel) and display "progress" of the download/upload, actually its not progress it is just an activity indication.
needless to say that this application is lacking of ... everything.
the only thing that it has and other apps don't have it is the create tracker, but in that category it can't win, since it is very slim there as well.
the only reason i kept it (i swear to god) because it has such a beautiful icon so my application folder looking a bit more eye candy (ridicules).

i gave it a 2 out of 5.

since Tomato was too lame as P2P but it is more of a way to share file with your friend, but still on that category it looses too, for this reason and for this reason alone i added the Pando application, that is not for P2P network but to allow transferring files between you and your friends. (the real P2P Peer to Peer)

Pando is a way to share large files with your friends, without the need for you to be online,
once the application loads, you may choose to share new via email, IM or web link,
you choose the file you would like to share, fill in the required data such as email address, subject etc. and press send,
from this point on the application will upload your file to pando servers and at the moment that one bit is saved to the pando servers your friend get the link to their email, IM, or web, and they can start download whatever is uploaded, they can also connect in a week or so, uploaded files will wait for them for 3 weeks, the shareware version also limit you in file size of 1 GB max.

beside that it is a great way to send large files, you may stop the upload and continue it later (even if your friend started to download), you may send the link later on to others, the upload is yours to share, you can receive the same way,
and here as well pando embedded the channels content idea into the application, and it has some nice channels to choose from, the moment you subscribe to a channel the latest items are queued and starting to download them.
Pando comes with limited configuration but enough for its purposes, and it has a good cover of online help.

i gave Pando a 5 out of 5.

the following are URLs that cover P2P applications and elaborate on the network they support with download links:

well thats it, i hope it will help you and expecting to hear some comments on this post.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice post man, thanks

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